July 16, 2017

July 16th, 2017


Fr. Francesco Msofu

Brothers and sisters, “The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live forever” (Lk 8: 11).   From the parable of the sower and Isaiah’s prophecy, we learned that Christ sows the seed of God’s word in our hearts.  He urges us to develop our relationship with the word of God.  So today we must ask ourselves: have we let the seed of God’s word sown in our hearts? Are our hearts open so that God’s word can grow and bear fruit in them?

In the first reading, prophet Isaiah repeats the word from God to the Israelites, assuring them that all His promises will be fulfilled.  This is the story of the Israelites exiled in Babylon for almost 50 years.  Among them, God raised a prophet who proclaimed that their salvation was near, that they would be freed and return to their homeland Israel.  However, many years elapsed and they remained in exile. The Israelites were discouraged and began to question the truth of God’s message.   And God through his prophet Isaiah assured them that his word is like rain and snow, waters from heaven are essential for the nourishment of land and people. Likewise, the word that goes out from the mouth of God is essential for feeding our minds and hearts.  The word of God will accomplish what it intends.  When the time came, the Israelites were freed from Babylon and returned to Israel.  Most of us want God to solve our problems immediately, and when he does that is great, but if he delays in doing so we become upset or discouraged. We are invited to have faith and patience as God will never withhold his promise.

The gospel presents the parable of the sower.  It should be understood that in ancient times, the farmer did not first plough the soil and then sow the seeds as people do today. Instead he sowed the seed and then ploughed the land. That is why some seeds fell among the stones or weeds or thorns or on the small paths. Jesus as the sower of the word of God, tells us this parable to show how he spread the word of God to all who could listen, but not everyone responded in the same way. There were those who ignored him, like the people of his home town Nazareth (Lk 4: 14-30); like the Pharisees who wanted to get rid of him (Mt 12: 14); like his disciples who left him (Jn 6: 66); some who treated him as a mad person.  They said there was no reason to listen to him (Jn 10: 20).

His teachings seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. Some people received his message with enthusiasm, but they quickly forgot it. Some people, however, received the word of God and kept it in their hearts and they let it be the light of their life as the Psalmist says: “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path” (Ps 119: 105). These are the ones whose seeds fell on the good soil.  As a result, they brought forth good harvest as Matthew stipulates: “Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Mt 13: 8). Even if conditions are unfavorable and his word seems destined to die (Mt. 11: 20-24); Jesus, however, teaches us that in spite of all obstacles, his word will yield abundant fruit because it contains in itself the irresistible force of life.

In our Life

  1. The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower, all who come to him will live forever.
  2. In both the first reading and the gospel, the word of God is living seed, however, the problem is always with the receiver, not the seed – that is, one’s attitude towards the word of God. The word of God is meant to be lived. It is meant to nourish our souls. It is meant to shape us.
  3. The word of God shapes our faith, and our faith depends on it. St. Paul reminds us that: faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of God (Rm 10: 10-17).

The Chief medical Health Officer of Kingston has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
Please read and observe the six key principles outlined below.

1) The key principle is that we come to Mass to worship God. Out of justice and exercising the virtue of religion we must give God what is God’s due. That quite simply is worship, adoration and praise. Thus, the absolute essentials of Mass will be included so that the Sacramental praise of God will take place and we will be exposed to one another for as brief a time as possible.

2) The second key principle is that the health and safety of parishioners, staff and clergy here at St. Mary’s are essential and require our utmost concern and attention. Therefore, the dispensation from the obligation to come to Sunday Mass by Archbishop Mulhall continues to be in effect. Those who are sick, elderly or have other critical health concerns should not come at this time. However, that is left to your discretion. Should you make the choice to come, knowing the risks, you are most welcome.

3) The underlying principle of all of our restrictions in isolating, physically distancing, wearing masks etc. is the common good as we live out the Lord’s commission to “love one another.” We are to care for each other and at this time we are called to be as prudent and careful as we can to protect the health of everyone else and ourselves.
4) The principle for the next few weeks will be brevity. The received scientific wisdom is that the virus spreads within groups who spend a prolonged period of time together. Therefore, we will be reducing the Mass to the bare essentials.
5) Singing is considered more dangerous than speaking so you are asked to please not sing at all throughout the Mass. I will not be singing either.
6) If you have any sickness, are elderly or have a critical illness you should remain at home. The dispensation from the obligation to come to Mass continues through this time of 30% capacity. Of course, if you choose to come you will not be turned away. We will continue to live- stream the Masses until we are back to a more normal arrangement.

The Chief medical Health Officer has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
We will pray a shorter Penitential Rite.
The Gloria will be said not sung. There is to be no singing by the congregation during the Mass. Only by a cantor or as we have today a physically distanced choir in the choir loft…3 metres apart.
We will only have one reading followed by the Psalm
The second reading will be omitted.
The choir will sing the Alleluia on Sundays. During the week it will be omitted. Please do not join in.
The Gospel.
A very brief (3-4 minute) homily will follow.
The Creed will not be prayed.
There will be no petitions. Please prepare your own petitions and offer them in your heart during the Mass.
There will be no procession of the gifts.
There will be no regular collections at this time in the Masses. It will happen later. Ushers will be at the doors to receive your offering as you leave.
The Eucharistic Prayer will be prayed. This is the Most Important Part of the Mass.
The Our Father
Sign of Peace. This is a time when we won’t shake hands. Please do not wave to each other or give the two finger sign of peace. Neither of these reflect what is the intention here…You are recognizing the presence of God in the other person and praying they know God’s peace. The most appropriate gesture is a slight bow or nod of the head to the other person. You have seen me do this at the sign of peace to all of you at every Sunday Liturgy.
Please be seated.
Then the ushers will direct you to the place where you will receive Holy Communion. Please do not leave your pew until an usher has indicated you should do so.
Another usher will be close to the Communion Station to receive your Sunday Offering.
When it is your turn to receive Holy Communion. You will stand 6 feet away on the red line. The person distributing Holy Communion will say “The Body of Christ”. You will say “Amen”. Then move forward within arms length and receive the Host. Once you have received go straight out the nearest exit and make your Thanksgiving on your way home.
Aisles 1 & 5 will come forward to receive Holy Communion and leave by the side doors.
Aisles 2, 3 & 4 will go to the back to receive Holy Communion.
Aisle 2 will exit by the exit closest to the rectory.
Aisle 3 will exit out the centre door which you came in
Aisle 4 will exit out the door by the washrooms.
You are strongly encouraged to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Receiving on the tongue endangers the person giving Holy Communion and yourself, the person receiving Holy Communion. If you wish to insist on receiving on the tongue please wait until the very end as the person giving Holy Communion should sanitize their hands after each communicant. The usher will pass you by and will come back to you after everyone else has received. Please don’t leave your pew until that has taken place.